Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP Michael Jackson

What I've noticed most online today is the split between comments of shock and grief against those of derision and making jokes about someone who has just died. The former consists mostly of the generation that grew up with Jackson's music as part of the cultural landscape, while the latter consists primarily of a younger generation. It's a complicated issue, and I won't get into it because there is no way you can discuss a complicated issue like this online. But really, isn't it better to feel compassion than to judge?

I will say that I'm quite flabbergasted at the lack of compassion, regardless of personal opinion. In hindsight, I shouldn't be surprised. Besides, It's easy to make shitty and hurtful anonymous comments online.

That Michael Jackson was a creative genius who forever changed the landscape of popular music remains undisputed. For those who spent their formative years listening to his music, the earthquake that was Thriller at the time of its release, this is a loss that cuts deep. The associations of childhood are powerful. They shape us in ways we are not even aware of and become the mythical landscapes of the personal. I understand where the shock comes from.

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

1 comment:

karina said...

My wife showed me the Eternal Moonwalk site today, and it made me sad to think how happy the project would have made Michael Jackson, sad to think his persona was targeted so mercilessly while he was alive and people had to wait until he died to show this kind of appreciation.

I'm not saying he was a saint, he obviously took more than a few wrong turns to have ended up so isolated. But I agree, compassion is always better than the alternative. I grew up with his music, learning to moonwalk when I was a kid. A part of me was convinced he would outlive us all, like his music sure will. It was a strange day when I heard he died. RIP MJ.